The journey began four or five years ago during my first experimentation with hand dyeing fabrics. Later I doodled a freestyle design on the surface using colored fabric markers. Recently I dug into my stash of surface designed fabrics and decided to make an art quilt with this piece.
Some of the markers showed rather pale so I layered the top with batting and a backing and began free motion quilting all of the design elements with black thread to help define the shapes. Using a machine button hole stitch to secure the raw edges helped keep the quilt squared and less inclined to warp with handling.
The resulting thread work contrast improved the look but remained somewhat lifeless to me. Since beading was one of the reasons I took up art quilting, I thought this was a perfect surface to showcase beads for interest, texture and added pizazz. This is truly one of the rare times in art where 'more was better'! Every time I thought I was finished with the beading, it called for more, more! Even now I wonder if I should have added beads to the center of the 'zentipede', but held off, knowing I can later if it really bothers me.
"Zentipede" by Judy Wedemeyer (24" x 17")
The design is interesting regardless of the direction it is hung, so with that in mind I chose not to sign the front of the quilt. With so many beads attached I didn't want the weight to pull on the fabric when on display, therefore I created a sturdy fabric backing to attach the art quilt to. I applied a contrasting wine colored accent fabric to both sides of a fusible stiff stabilizer (like Tim Tex), and then satin stitched the edges with black thread. Not wishing to detract from the button hole stitch around the quilt edge, I straight stitched the quilt to the backing using a smoke colored mono filament thread. If it shows any sign of sagging once it is hung, I will free motion quilt a few areas to stabilize it sufficiently.